The U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee advanced legislation led by Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski to improve maternal health, address infant mortality, and support nursing mothers in the workplace. The bills now head to the full Senate for consideration.
The Rural Maternal and Obstetric Modernization of Services (Rural MOMS) Act will give help to new and expecting mothers living in rural communities. The MOMS Act focuses on data collection on maternal health, increases funding for rural care grants, expands maternal telehealth resources, and broadens training opportunities for healthcare professionals in maternal health.
“Coming from Alaska, these disparities – both geographic and socioeconomic – are particularly concerning, which is why I am proud to co-lead the Rural MOMS Act. Every expecting mother deserves the best care available for herself and her baby, regardless of where they live,” said Sen. Murkowski.
The Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act provides salaried employees in traditional office environments with adequate break time and a private place to pump breastmilk. The bill specifically would expand a 2010 law, which provides space and time for hourly employees who are nursing.
The HELP Committee also advanced the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act, of which Senator Murkowski joined as a cosponsor. This bill aims to improve maternal health by enhancing evidence-based programs, such as the implementation of rural obstetric networks, maternal telehealth programs, and integrated health care services for pregnant and postpartum women. The legislation also includes provisions to promote vaccinations for pregnant women and infants.